Gitana Team² ashore – technical and logistics team
The twelve members of the Gitana Team² saling team taking the start of the Québec Saint Malo race on Sunday 11th July, are backed up by a specialised shore team who are highly dedicated and on the ball. There to provide technical assistance and logistical support as and when necessary. A team of six people who have the full support of both crews and who set up shop in Québec two weeks ago, ready to spring into action in the first few days after the start.
Yann Marilley, Gitana Team² Project Manager describes the preparation which has gone into getting the two trimarans this far, 48 hours before the start :

« Both Gitana arrived in Québec a fortnight ago. Gitana 11 came in from Boston (The Transat finish town) and  Gitana X arrived after a delivery passage from La Trinité sur Mer. The shore crew had to repair Gitana 11's  dagger board's crash box (a part designed to absorb shock and thus limit structural damage in the event of an impact). Gitana X also needed a little attention, the fixations points of her central rudder having suffered after having been caught up in a fishing net on her way up the Saint Lawrence river. And that still left a lot of work to do with the usual thorough check-up of every inch of the boats (rigging, appendages, fittings, lines, computers, electronics…). The strength behind the Gitana Team is that we have a technical team entirely devoted to both boats. It comprises people who are highly skilled in a particular domain but also extremely versatile so that each member can give a hand to others in the team. Whilst some technicians are rather more associated with one of the Gitana rather than another, the team functions in such a way that they are operational for either boat. All of the guys know both trimarans inside out. »
« The technical wing is headed by Jean Le Huérou-Kérisel, who supervises the work to be done and the overall logistics of the ways things are organised generally. He is backed up by Thierry Duprey, who is also Gitana X's boat captain. Laurent Bourgues concentrates on composite material work and is seconded by William Fabulet, whereas Jean-Pierre Trottet and Léopold Lucet are there to deal with maintenance problems, mechanical repairs, hydraulics and fittings. François Denis, is also a member of the sailing team and specialises in rigging and lines on Gitana 11. Laurent Rivals takes care of logistics, management ashore and supplies. Lastly, Richard Bastide is in charge of computers, electronics and telecommunications, and assists Olivier Wroczynski, who is also member of Gitana X's sailing team. »

« Two days before the start and both Gitana are ship shape and are on the Saint Lawrence river, ready to test their sails. Gitana 11 sailed on Tuesday and Wednesday to test their Code 0 (headsail for light air), a jib for strong winds (ORC) and to revise the offshore sail trimming needed on this race. Gitana X validated a change to her mainsail, increasing her surface area at the top incorporating a gaff (a big batten which enabled more cloth to be added in the headboard area) and a new Code 0. Otherwise, provisions have been taken on board… and we have prepared things for Olivier's birthday ! He'll be fifty on Monday 12th July, the day after the start. And as the shore team has done a great job, we've got plenty to celebrate on Friday evening.  »

« On Saturday, we sought the services of a hydroplane around the same time of day as Sunday's start in order to identify specific zones of the Saint Lawrence. We'll be able to give extra information to those on board and the tacticians. This is a very tricky part of the course, all the more so as there is not going to be much wind at the start at all. As the weather on Saturday and Sunday is going to be very similar, we should be able to spot zones where there is wind, identify where the currents are strong or weak, pinpoint the coastal for the very early stretches of the race. That way, we'll get a global vertical view of the whole, a real plus for the tacticians on board who have a uniquely horizontal view of the course. A perfect occasion to memorise the start of the course which turns out to be essential for what follows as it is really important to be up front early on as the weather here favours the leaders as they will be the first to latch onto the wind which should be kicking in on Monday. »

« We've re-booked the same hydroplane to cover the race for both Gitana from the start and as far as the Grand Banks of Newfoundland  to be able to react very quickly in the event of a technical hitch on board either of the boats. Jean, Laurent and Léopold will be remaining on stand-by in Québec with the spare equipment (resin, lines, daggerboard…) until the trimarans have sailed beyond  Saint Pierre & Miquelon). In Canada, the hydroplane remains the fastest, most flexible and independent means of intervention, making it possible to gain access to every part of the course in a matter of hours. Lastly, on Saturday we are organising a navigator's briefing session to discuss the weather files followed by a meal for all of the Gitana Team, before each individual gets down to focusing on the specific task in hand for the start. It looks as though there will be light air for the whole for the first day on the Saint Laurent. Exiting the river will be an important element in the race. The technical team has finished its job : that's 50% of any passage… Now it's over to the sailing team for the other 50% ! »

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